This weekend, Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons are heading to the Super Bowl to face the New England Patriots. Ryan just finished an MVP-caliber season, leading the NFL with a 117.1 passer rating and throwing for almost 5,000 yards and 38 touchdowns. He also had only seven interceptions for the entire season, his best yet.
Why is he so good? He believes it has something to do with an expensive 3D experience (some may call it a videogame) called NeuroTracker. Combining 3D glasses with a screen that displays bouncing yellow balls that sometimes appear in red, NeuroTracker asks the player to pay attention to all of the moving balls and recall how many turned red. Get it right, and the player advances a level where things move faster and with more randomness. Get it wrong, and you drop back a level.
Ryan says NeuroTracker has helped him improve his spatial awareness, which in turn helps him scan the field for open receivers.
“That’s key as a quarterback,” he told the New York Times. “To be able to see things and how they relate to each other really quickly. I think that’s exactly what NeuroTracker helps you do.”
“We spend a lot of time working on our bodies,” he continued. “It’s equally important to have you mind operating on a high leevel.”
He’s not the only pro athlete using the $6,000 system, either. NeuroTracker’s success stories include pro boxer Jean Pascal, golfer Matt Fast, snowboarder Caroline Calvé and even the U.S. Soccer Development Academy uses it to scout for new players.
There are skeptics, of course, and there’s little scientific evidence to support claims that training your brain in such a manner transfers to the field of play.
Either way, if your Patriots’ fan friends are wondering why it seems like Ryan has eyes on the back of his head this Sunday, you may want to mention this expensive gadget.